It astounds me when professional athletes are younger than me, like 18-year-old Tucker West and 19-year-olds Summer Britcher and Aidan Kelly; I envy all that they've accomplished as I am planted on my sofa, shoveling guacamole into my mouth.
"The North Caucasus is an utterly ignored part of the world. You can't even get there from the Olympic Villages. There's no road," notes Hornstra, the photographer. "But there are so many reasons to examine it as all one part with Sochi and the Olympics."
The New York Times' Jeré Longman reports that the Olympic Charter "prohibits athletes from making political gestures during the Winter and Summer Games," and that this prohibition could be used to "banish" Olympians who choose to protest, even silently, against Russian homophobia.
While the Russians would love an American boycott of the Games, being banned from their own Games would help drive public sentiment. Instead of asking our athletes to carry messages that would fall on deaf ears, it would drive Russian Olympic hopefuls to speak out to their own government.
Even if Putin himself signs a decree stating that no LGBT persons will be subjected to Russia's draconian laws and that their safety will be guaranteed, boycotting the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi or pulling out completely is still the right thing to do.
We must not let politicians undermine years of dedicated training for the sake of political grandstanding that will have no effect on policy. Allow our athletes to continue their preparations for their test with history at the Olympic Games.